Just about as many Americans want Tea Party-backed members of Congress to take the lead in setting policy during the next year as choose President Obama, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.
In a survey taken Friday through Sunday, 28% say Obama should have the most influence on government policy next year while 27% say the Tea Party standard-bearers should.GOP congressional leaders are chosen by 23%, Democratic congressional leaders by 16%.
The results reflect the strength of the Tea Party movement as the GOP prepares to take control of the House of Representatives in January.
The survey also underscores Obama’s weakened standing. His overall job approval rating, at 42%, is 1 percentage point higher than his historic low in midsummer. His 35% approval rating on the economy is the lowest of his presidency.
The nation’s mood “guarantees that there will be gridlock,” says Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “The government follows public opinion and public opinion is all over the lot about who should now be running things.”
The poll of 1,037 adults, taken by landline and cellphone, has a margin of error of +/—4 percentage points.